Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Andy Warhol: Restifist or Obsessive Compulsive ?

Andy Warhol was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh to Czechoslovakian immigrants. He grew up in the city and attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology. After graduating with a degree in pictorial design in 1949 he moved to New York City to work as a commercial illustrator. It was during this time that he started to draw.

In 1955 he completed the works entitled, "Shoes, Shoes, Shoes, 1955" and later returned to the same theme for inspiration and produced Diamond Dust Shoes, 1980-1 (blue-grey).

During his lifetime, pop artist Andy Warhol was a painter, a photographer, a film maker, and a magazine entrepreneur, but he was also a shoe collector and kept large catalogued collections of celebrity footwear.

Warhol's artwork includes paintings, silk screen prints, drawings, photographs, films, videos and sculptures, but it was his affinity for collecting that resulted in the accumulation of 610 sealed boxes. This he called his time capsules. Warhol was an avid collector of all things and was intrigued by American commercial culture. His collections were sometimes grandiose, other times small, often lewd, and in general, mind-boggling. In 1974, the artist began boxing his collections and labeling them as time capsules. Material dates from the 1950s to the time of his death in February 1987 (aged 58). Museum archivists meticulously document each article and make photocopies and take photographs on the contents of each box. The intention is the museum will eventually support a database of the contents and of other information from Warhol's diaries. Only about 100 of the boxes have been opened but the diversity of items inside highlights Warhol's eclectic tastes. Party invitations, unopened mail, art gallery advertisements, newspaper clippings and a mummified foot, have been uncovered.

The foot artifact has been confirmed as an authentic Egyptian foot and was purchased at one of New York's flea markets. There is no obvious reason why he kept chocolate bars, old pizzas and even a piece of Caroline Kennedy’s birthday cake for her 16th birthday but they were clearly important to the artist at the time. No surprise perhaps that one time capsule contains a collection of shoes. His fascination with shoes also extended to a collection of two hundred pairs of women's shoes which he had carefully catalogued by museum staff.

The artist also chose to display the entire collection of shoes in the face of protests from the curator of the costume collection. Many experts have wrongly in my opinion accused Warhol as a fetishist and restifist because shoes appear so frequently throughout his works and collections. However there is absolutely no evidence the artist had sex with his shoes (restifist) and hence Warhol may have been obsessive compulsive and was driven to collect them.

(Video Courtesy: TheSecondComing1789 by Youtube Channel)

Interesting Sites
Andy Warhol Museum Pittsburgh

Reviewed 31/03/2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Sir Elton John and Shoes

Like every other teenager, Reg Dwight rebelled against his parents. His errant father Stanley in particular, and later attributed the flamboyant style of his alter ego Elton John, to his oppressive father preventing his character from being expressed as child. Stanley and Reggie’s mother, Edna mother, were divorced in 1963 and both parents remarried.

Reg’s was a gifted piano player and could play be ear, his professional career started in 1962, when aged 15 he erned pocket money playing piano in a local pub at a nearby hotel. Reg played a wide range of popular standards including some of his own songs. For effect, he started to wear Buddy Holly style heavy horn-rimmed glasses and did not need prescriptions at that time. He got a job running errands for a music publishing company and at night split his time between solo gigs in pubs and working with a new group called Bluesology. The group played African American inspired blues music preferred by beatniks and students and guaranteed to alarm conservative parents. They were soon backing touring American soul and R&B musicians like the Isley Brothers, Major Lance and Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles. On stage Bluesology, like their contemporaries dressed alike in hip style skivvies , flared jeans and healed Chelsea boots. Of stage T shirts and jeans were ubiquitous among young people as was longer hair for men. Bland by today’s standards but pretty reactionary back in the early sixties. Height challenged Reggie took advantage of wearing healed shoes.

(Video Courtesy: RonnieFriend by Youtube Channel)

Bluesology became Long John Baldry's supporting band and were regulars at the Marquee Club in 1966. John Baldy stood 2m (6’5”) tall; and Reg Dwight was 1.72m (5’ 6”).

As the keyboards he often sat in the background on stage and like many height challenged men of the time, took to wearing platform shoes (1” souls) which had become all the rage for disco. However, these were not the famous platform shows he wore in the 70s and quite modest by comparison.

Keen to pursue a career as singer songwriter he answered an advertisement in the New Musical Express, and at the interview was given lyrics written by Bernie Taupin. That was the beginning of a partnership in 1967, and still continues to this day. Keen to embrace his route to solo rock stardom, Reg reinvented himself as Elton John. Some sources say he took his stage name from fellow band members , Elton Dean (Saxophone) and Long John Baldry. Others cite John Lennon from the Beatles. He legally changed his name to Elton Hercules John on 7 January 1972. Again, like many people he did not like his given name as it held too many unhappy memories. His middle name, Hercules, refers to the horse named Hercules on British sitcom Steptoe and Son which was popular when Elton was growing up. As Elton John, he felt free from his bad memories of his childhood and started to enjoy a more flamboyant existence off and on stage.

Elton John and Bennie Taupin joined Dick James's DJM Records as staff songwriters in 1968, and over the next two years wrote material for other artists, Taupin wrote the lyrics and John, the music. The resulting easy-listening tunes were perfect for Dick James to engage singers to record.

(Video Courtesy: RonnieFriend by Youtube Channel)

Poulaines: Peaks and troughs

When pointed shoes became the height of women’s fashion it did not come without controversy. The shoe police were vocal with their condemnation and forecasts of foot doom and deformity to all who wore them. Problem is, there is no independent evidence to support these claims. Certainly, discomfort may result when anyone wears tighter clothing that is comfortable and hazards do await the foot challenged who squeeze their feet into a triangular shaped shoe smaller than their foot. However, as a shoe design, pointed shoes do no real harm to feet. As always provided feet and shoes are physically compatible and worn for short periods then no real harm can come to the wearer.

So why do pointed shoes come in for such criticism?

The origins of pointed shoes are quite simple to locate and have been worn since before biblical times. Historians believe the style may had more to do with the limitations of shoemaking than style per se, but people who wore peaked sandals were generally considered ‘free spirited’.

The fashion for long toed shoes became an obsession for men in the middle Ages and lasted almost half a century. Over this period in European courts the size of men's shoes got longer and longer until they were 24 inches longer than the foot. Poulaines or beaks were thought to be used as sex toys in courtly love and have been associated with promiscuity ever since.

As a style it did not really reappear until 1960s, and along with the sexual revolution became the new trend for the that decade.

Loved by the young, the shoe styles met with warnings of foreboding from the establishment.

,br> Epidemiological data conforms there is no evidence to show the sixties generation have more deformed feet because of their fleeting association with pointed shoes, than any other shoe wearing demographic. So why all the fuss?

Medicalisation of shoes is a metaphor and represents a moral backlash against promiscuity. Pointed shoe styles and high heels have become stereotypically associated with a society in moral decline and represent to our guardians as sartorial pornography. Violation of social decorum is deemed by the choice of our footwear. Poppycock.

(Video Courtesy: British Pathé by Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 29/03/2020

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Real Hydraulic Scissor Lift Shoes

(Video Courtesy: colinfurze by Youtube Channel)

A potted history of barber-surgeons

Monks were the traditional practitioners of medicine and surgery, but after Pope Honorarius III (1150 – 1227) prohibited all persons in holy orders from spilling blood, barbers in the monasteries, already used to working with sharp blades, began to add minor surgical skills to their repertoire. In due course chiurgery (surgery) was passed on to other barbers elsewhere. Most physicians lived in courts and castles and tended the royal and aristocratic families, surgeons on the other hand lived with the people and catered to the lower classes. They were generally held in less regard.

Barbers and master surgeons had overlapped in their duties for many years before they were allowed to form The Barbers’ Company in 1308 when King Edward II (1284 – 1327) granted the barbers guild status. Richard le Barbour was elected by the Court of Aldermen to keep order amongst his fellows. The Barbers' Company was authorized to review, license and punish persons who would practice the noble art of surgery. They were charged with training, finding employment, and taking care of guild members and their families for life. Members of a guild could be identified by their distinctive ceremonial dress, or livery, and so these guilds became known as Livery Companies. Over the centuries, persistent European wars and plagues meant the number of physicians and surgeons became significantly depleted which left lower level practitioners to carry on. Less qualified people joined the Barber’s Company.

When the Black Death (1347 to 1351) swept across Europe, it changed forever the face of medicine and those who practiced it. In medieval times doctors could be divided into: Physicians, Surgeons and Barbers. Physicians did not understand the root causes of many diseases, instead they relied upon unscientific "cures" that did little, if any, good. They rarely practised surgery at this time and those who did were called Barber-surgeons. They undertook cupping, blood letting, amputations, giving enemas, pulling teeth, and cutting hair. There was no formal training required and apprentices learned from more experienced colleagues on the job. Many barber surgeons were illiterate or had little education. In 1375, the guild established and separated their members into those who did surgery and those who were barbers only. A proclamation was also made that required all surgeons to be licensed by the Crown in order to perform their services.

Bloodletting became one of the most ubiquitous and sought-after treatments of the time, the procedure remained in heavy use using leeches until the 19th century. Barber surgeons used a specialized tool to help them open an incision in the patient’s vein and carefully extract up to a pint of blood. Bloodletting was often more harmful than not but could temporarily lower blood pressure. Barbour Surgeons were also known to examine their patient’s urine and based on colour, consistency, and taste would proceed with treatment.

When Barber surgeons became competition for master surgeons, a separate Fellowship of Surgeons was approved in London in 1435 and claimed the right to practise surgery which inevitably led to a power struggle between them and the Barbers’ Company. This was temporarily resolved in 1462 when the Barbers’ Company was granted its first Royal Charter by Edward IV (1442 – 1483) establishing its power to regulate the practice of surgery in London, to maintain professional standards and to stamp out impostors and charlatans. The Barbers' Guild retained the power to oversee surgical practices in London and continued this oversight after it became, by Royal Charter of 1462, a Company. By the end of the 15th century most physicians were accredited and licensed by the universities in which they studied, barber surgeons were not. They had to apply to the trade guild and would subsequently become apprentices to barbers. The apprentice training would occur for seven years within the household of an experienced barber-surgeon and assist in surgical care to gain hands-on experience. Once completed, the new member would satisfactorily demonstrate their skills and abilities to Company-appointed examiners before paying a membership fee to join the ranks of the Company.

In France, during the 13th century a law was passed requiring all physicians in training to swear an oath not to perform surgery but when physicians became outnumbered by surgeons they protested these restrictions and a special college was created at St. Côme in 1210. Surgeons at The College of St. Cosme, Paris were separated into two classes: the long (academic) robes and short robes. The long robes were master surgeons, while the short robes were apprentices i.e. barbers in training. Doctors who were given a short robe had to complete further training before they could practice surgery. By 1371, barber surgeons had surpassed master surgeons and Charles V (1338 – 1380) proclaimed his own barber as the head of all barbers and surgeons of France.

Unlike the rest of Europe, the Salerno medical school in Italy trained physicians to be competent surgeons, as did the schools in Bologna and Padua. In Florence, physicians and surgeons were separated, but the Florentine Statute concerning the Art of Physicians and Pharmacists in 1349 gave barbers an inferior legal status compared to surgeons. They were officially placed under the control and supervision of graduate physicians and required a license from the medical schools. Barber surgeons were restricted and could only treat conditions pertaining to the external surface of the body. Bloodletting was undertaken under the prescription of a physician and with supervision. Barber surgeons general approach was more mindful of easing pain and reassuring frightened customers by providing distracting conversation to them. They were skilled communicators listening to their patients as well as disseminating news and information. Records affirm many barber surgeons of the Renaissance , kept “up-to-date” with internal and international politics as well as matters of law.

King Henry VIII (1491 –1547) signed a decree merging the two guilds into the Great Company of Barbers and Surgeons in 1540. Practical human anatomy had been prohibited by the Catholic Church until the early days of the Renaissance. The new Act of Parliament contained a vital clause which gave the Company of Barbers and Surgeons the right to claim yearly the bodies of four criminals who had been executed, and to dissect them or use them in any other way for the advancement of anatomy and surgery. Public demonstrations took place four times a year in the Great Hall of Barber's Hall, London and attendance was compulsory for all 'free' surgeons with the crowd surrounding a table. By 1568, the 'Court of Assistants' of the Guild ordered wooden raised seating to be erected in the Hall during anatomies. In Glasgow, under James the VI (1566 –1625), all apothecaries, surgeons, barbers, and barber surgeons were united under one charter.

The union of the Barbers and Surgeons was never easy to manage and the relationship continued uneasily for the next 200 years. Barbers surgeons received higher pay than master surgeons until the latter were allowed into British warships during naval wars. The average surgeon was tasked with a variety of “healing” tasks that physicians would not do. The surgeon was expected to deal with basic wounds and lacerations, with burns and skin rashes, suture and stitch. They would set fractured bones and dislocated limbs, lance infections, topical applications, and applications of poultices, and deal with venereal diseases More skilled surgeons performed demanding procedures including trepanation (drilling a hole in the skull to alleviate pressure), amputation, cauterization, and delivering babies, all with out anaesthetics . Barber surgeons came of age during wartime but in peace time, these tasks were rarely performed and many barber surgeons reverted to cutting hair for a living. .

As surgery shifted from a craft to a profession. barber surgeons began to accept their role within the medical hierarchy. After 1660, they were becoming quickly phased out as surgery gained a more refined and important position. In France, Louis XV (1710 – 1774), established five chairs of surgery at the college of St. Côme and by 1743, every French barber and wig maker was forbidden to perform surgery. In England, lobbying from the medical profession ensured master surgeons split from the Barbers' Company in 1745 and King George II (1683 - 1760) established the London College of Surgeons. In 1800, The Company of Surgeons was established and a Royal Charter granted. The Royal College of Surgeons in London was later renamed to include all of England. Equivalent colleges were established in Scotland, Ireland and within the Commonwealth .

The Worshipful Company of Barbers no longer retains association with the hairdressing profession but acts as a charitable institution to the benefit of medical and surgical causes. The Barbers’ Company is a fraternal organization, with responsibilities and rights within the City of London, providing support to charities, institutions and individuals associated with the Company’s ancient and long established traditions and origins.


The barber’s pole which was proudly displayed outside a barber’s shop featured the iconic red and white spiralling stripes, and is thought to refer to the blood and bandages associated with the crafts of the barber surgeon. King Henry VIII gave qualified surgeons the honorary title , “Master,” which in time became “Mr.” UK female surgeons are similarly referred to as Miss, Ms. or Mrs. Today surgeons have a medical degree and doctorate before undergoing several more years training in surgery. The barber’s pole which was proudly displayed outside a barber’s shop featured the iconic red and white spiralling stripes, and is thought to refer to the blood and bandages associated with the crafts of the barber surgeon. King Henry VIII gave qualified surgeons the honorary title , “Master,” which in time became “Mr.” UK female surgeons are similarly referred to as Miss, Ms. or Mrs. Today surgeons have a medical degree and doctorate before undergoing several more years training in surgery.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Saturday, March 21, 2020

The origins of snake oil

The term snake oil has become an euphemism for deceptive marketing, but has its origins in California during the early 19th century when thousands of Chinese indentured labourers arrived to work on the Transcontinental Railroad . The vast majority came from peasant families in south-eastern China and were signed to contracts that ran up to five years for relatively low wages. The Chinese railroad workers brought with them various medicines including snake oil which is made from the oil of the Chinese water snake (Enhydris chinensis), rich in omega-3 fatty acids to help reduce inflammation especially when used to treat arthritis and bursitis.

To ease their aching bodies and joints after a long hard-working day they rubbed the oil on their joints to marvellous effect. Amazed by its apparent healing powers their American workmates soon wanted them to share their snake oil.

Snakeskin oil has been a traditional Chinese medicine for many centuries. Topical ointments made from fat extracted from the Chinese water snake (Enhydris chinensis) acts as a rubefacient (counter irritant) to the skin and relieves minor ailments. Once it was realised there were no Chinese water snakes in America, local entrepreneurs used rattlesnakes. These inunctions were however, ineffective although very popular and hucksters quickly found cheaper ingredients to substitute for snake oils.

Most snake oil products were drastically overpriced and falsely advertised. By far. the most renowned peddler of snake oil was Clark Stanley, who claimed to have been tutored by the medicine men of the Hopi Tribe in Northern Arizona. Self-proclaimed, “Rattlesnake King” a former cowboy, started his sales pitch by pulling a ‘rattler.’ out of a sack, slitting it open then dropping it into a pot of boiling water. In truth, Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment contained no rattlesnake fat. Subsequent to the passage of the mineral oil (petrolium product), 1% fatty oil (assumed to be tallow ), capsaicin from chili peppers, and traces of turpentine, and camphor in 1916. Despite the plethora of snake oil medicinal products Clark Stanley's Snake Oil Liniment is the only known product to be examined, and would be similar in composition to modern-day capsaicin-based liniments or chest rubs, not dissimilar to Vicks VapoRub (Procter & Gamble) . Since the product contained no snake-derived oil, Stanley faced federal prosecution for peddling mineral oil in a fraudulent manner as snake oil and a year later the United States District Court for Rhode Island charged him with "misbranding". His plea of nolo contendere (no contest) was accepted and Clark Stanley was fined $20 (about $404 in 2020). The judgment against Stanley exposed to the country the drastic amount of fraud within patent medicine. Ironically, his capsaicin-based liniments and chest rubs were probably more use than genuine rattlesnake oil, which was shown to have no health benefits.

Patent medicines originated in England when apothecary, the Reverend Richard Stoughton was granted a royal patent for his Stoughton’s Elixir elixir in 1712. Sydenham became known for his Treatise on the Gout (1683) and argued gout was the result of “ease, voluptuousness, high living, and too free an use of wine and other spirituous liquors”. He recommended a light diet, plenty of fluid, and regular doses of his digestive elixir i.e. distilled alcohol infused with watercress, horseradish, wormwood, and anglica root. Sydenham's elixir became a popular remedy for gout and his bitters were successfully exported to the American colonies. After the War of Independence, distillers in Boston were quick to start make their own native version. This set in motion a commercial industry dedicated to produce patent medicines. For the next 200 years, quacks travelled from town to town, offering inexpensive remedies that promised instant results. They were showmen and bricoleurs, patching together their credibility from whatever came to hand, and they could work the crowd like a hellfire preacher. Most medicines prepared by unqualified people were often based on spirit, coloured and flavoured with vegetable dyes, spices, and substances ranging from malt extract to strychnine.

The addition of spirit-based tonics (bitters) were soon used to improve the flavour of cheap common gin in the 18 century. Later, when colonial migrants sought a tonic to help adjust their bodies to the extremes of tropical climates new bitter concoctions were developed, some including exotic ingredients. Medicinal claims, mostly fallacious, were used to promote these new bitters. In the 19th century home-made products were gradually replaced by mass-produced pharmaceuticals. The more patent medicines contained addictive drugs such as cocaine, amphetamine, alcohol and opium-based concoctions.

In North America, the widespread marketing and availability of dubiously advertised patent medicines without known properties or origin were sold at medicine shows. The absence of federal regulations concerning the safety and effectiveness of drugs, almost anything was acceptable. Rival medicine salespeople competed with snake oil entrepreneurs in peddling fraudulent panacea for pain, often offering more hazardous alternatives such intoxicating or hazardous ingredients like opium. This began to change in 1906, when the Food and Drugs Act was enacted.

In modern lexicon the term “snake oil” is used to describe any worthless pseudo-medical remedy promoted as a cure for various illnesses. By extension, snake oil salesmen are mountebanks who sold fraudulent goods. Many modern health products continue to be marketed using techniques formerly associated with snake oil. More often than not claims these products are scientific, healthy, or natural are dubious. Today, in a world under siege from Coronavirus 19 ( COVID-19 ), snake oil salesperson has been resurrected to describe the general nature of politicians, public figures including some religious leaders, who peddle false hopes.

Modern-day research suggests Chinese sea-snake (Laticauda semifasciata, black-banded sea krait) may have health benefits because of the high content of omega-3 fatty acids. Research confirms Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation and seems to help lowering systolic blood pressure. Other claims include improving cognitive function, reducing the risk of dementia and relieving depression.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

St Patrick : But wait, was he a Scotsman ?

St. Patrick of Ireland was born circa 385 AD, at Kilpatrick, near Dumbarton, in Scotland. The parents of Maewyn Succat (or Patricius) were wealthy Romans living in Britain. His father was a deacon. When Patricius was fourteen, he was captured during a raiding party by Irish marauders and taken to Ireland as a slave. He was sold as a slave to a Michu, an Irish chieftain and remained there for six years and became a shepherd. Patrick sought solace in his predicament and prayed while he looked after the sheep. His spirituality brought the boy strength even although his captor was cruel and demanding. Patrick was clever and taught himself the Gaelic as well as studied druidism, the predominant religion in Ireland at that time. He escaped slavery when aged twenty, and returned to Scotland to reunite with his family.

He studied to be a priest and was ordained by St. Germanus, the Bishop of Auxerre before being sent by Pope Celestine as a bishop to take the Gospel to Ireland. The young man’s heart was still in Ireland and eventually when Pope St Celestine decided to make Ireland a Christian country St. Patrick was given the mission of evangelizing the Irish. Patrick became the special Apostle of the Irish nation.

He arrived in Ireland in 433 AD and from the onset met with hostility from the Druids. Overcoming hostilities, he converted the chieftain Dichu and began preaching the Gospel throughout Ireland. He was a humble and brave priest who wore rough clothing and slept on hard rock bed. Patrick went from region to region winning respect and eventually the faith of the populous. As evidence of his presence Patrick is thought to have left his foot print on one of shore rocks just at the entrance to Skerries harbor.

Wherever he went on the Emerald Isle the fame of his miracles and sanctity went before him. After 40 years of living in poverty, traveling and enduring much suffering Patrick worked many miracles and established Ireland as Christian country. He retired to County Down and died on March 17 in AD 461. That day has been celebrated as St. Patrick's Day ever since. There are many legends surrounding St Patrick most of which cannot be verified. Some of the more common were:

Patrick used the shamrock (a three leaf clover) to explain the Trinity and this icon became associated with the Irish ever since.

Another legend was Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland; snakes were a popular symbol among the Irish pagans.

He used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross. The sun was a common symbol in Irish paganism and veneration of the symbol appealed to the Irish converts. By the seventh century, St Patrick was revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

(Video Courtesy: theESOLodyssey by Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 17/03/2020

Leprechauns: Little People and the Little Shoe Makers

Traditionally shoe makers worked alone. Prior to the development of the turnshoe technique, where the sole and upper were stitched together before being turned inside out, shoesmakers used large headed nails (hobnails) to attach the sole to the upper.

Changes in shoe construction at the end of the middle ages rendered using tacks an old technique, more befitting a craftsman steeped in the olden ways of the gentle craft. Shoes were however, made individually and took a craftsman to match left and right heels.

In Ancient Rome, many early converts to Christianity were from affluent families that had disinherited them because of their beliefs. Many found work as sandal makers. Often shoes were made at night and whilst appearing to sell their shoes during the day, they were also spreading the gospel.

Romans enjoyed wearing decorate sandals, sometimes with precious metal tacks but in times of austerity, sumptuous clothing and footwear were outlawed. Hence, most sandal makers worked clandestinely at night.

By the 12th Century shoemakers had formed guilds and many artisans were perceived as politically active and certainly viewed with suspicion as agitators.

In 17th century etchings, shoe makers were frequently depicted working solo and in poor conditions. Many were bespecktacled and usually smoking clay pipes. The craftsman’s need for full concentration on the task was paramount and many were depicted working on a lady’s shoe. A good shoe maker was highly prized and a well-crafted shoe worth its own weight in gold.

Shoemakers took on a personna in popular mythical culture as a magical fellows whose shoes or boots played a vital role in life. It is not real surprise to find supernatural little people, like Leprechauns (Neda-Ard, or plural, Neda-Ardi or Drun-ky) or elves, as shoemakers. Their profile matched reality of a solitary worker, dressed in work clothes, bespeckled, and enjoying a pipe as they tapped away on a ladies’ shoes.

Leprechauns or the Little People present as old men no taller than three feet. Many wore wore a cocked hat, red coat (not green), a leather (work) apron, woollen vest, knee breeches, long stockings and silver-buckled brogues. The fashion was reminiscent of 17th century Dandy and although Leprechauns were spoken off long before this the popular image of the Leprechaun may have come from the anti- Irish, English and American political cartoonists of the time.

It was widely thought Leprechauns held the secret to the location of buried treasure (a crock of gold). Whilst they may be coerced into telling you where the gold was buried by their nature they were mischievous and dreadful practical jokers, and almost certainly untrustworthy when dealing with humans. This could easily be taken as a metaphor for a shoemaker who has the capability to make you walk on air but unless a close scrutiny is maintained may supply you with some dud shoes. No surprise to discover it is important for the human to keep a fixed eye on the leprechaun at all times otherwise he will vanish. Leprechauns were said to serve as defenders of the faerie communities which again may be seen as a metaphor for protecting shoemaking communities. They also made brogues, the patterns of which contained ancient emblems most of which were to protect the wearer from evil.

(Video Courtesy: GoldenOldiesOn45RPM by Youtube Channel)

Reviewed 17/03/2020